This essay is intended as an introduction to a history of Serbian art and architecture. It is primarily aimed at acquainting the beginning student and general reader with the artistic heritage of the Serbian people. It is the author’s earnest hope, moreover, that this study, one of the first of its kind in the English language, will personally enrich the lives of students of art, and Americans of Serbian descent, and stimulate them to further, independent, research.
After long, and occasionally labored efforts, the author has attempted to include the visual arts of Serbia, understood in the broadest sense, in a single volume. Hence, this work is a survey, and, because of that, the author was keenly aware of the drawbacks which, in a survey, may be unavoidable. For in attempting to generalize about whole periods, one risks distorting the integrity of the historical process by combining events and artistic monuments, which ought to be considered separately, and, by disregarding others, failing to -recognize the importance of individuality in history.
However, the author is sincerely confident in asserting that the process of selection was carried out fairly, and that due regard was paid to the works of scholars without slavish dependence on them. Unfortunately, owing to limitations on size, it was not possible to provide a superstructure of notes, maps, and illustrations. Every effort was made, therefore, to avoid controversiality and supposition, which would be out of place in a work of this kind. Also, in this regard, the author wishes to state that she had brought to this essay the benefit of many years of personal and direct observation of the monuments of Serbian art – through teaching, analysis, and on-site inspection. The experiences were always happy ones, and it. is in that spirit that she offers this work for your consideration.
A debt is owed, however, to generations of art historians without whose pioneering efforts no survey would have been possible. Innumerable other scholars and special studies have been excluded from the selected bibliography; instead, attention has been focused 2 on major authors and salient works. Serbian titles appear in English and Serbian; all others retain the language of the original.
Finally, the author wishes to express her thanks to Mr. Henry J. Armani for his assistance in editing this text for publication.
Ljubica D. Popovich